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Thinking Well


Read our latest blog to discover the benefits that exercise has to our mental well-being, and the potential for more motivation as we find joy in regular commitment.

14 Jan 2021

Exercise increases blood circulation to our brains, and influences our hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal(HPA) axis, which is related to physiological stress. This then, has a further effect on several regions of the brain, including:

  • The limbic system – which controls motivation and mood
  • The amygdala – which generates fear in response to stress
  • The hippocampus – which plays an important role in memory formation, mood and motivation

If the science behind how exercise can help with our mental fortitude isn't inspiring you, then read our simple list of things that regular exercise can both reduce and boost.


Regular Exercise Reduces...

  • Regular exercise (about 150 minutes a week) has been measured to reduce stress.
  • Similarly, anxiety can be better handled with regular physical activity, mitigating the symptoms of mental fatigue and depression.
  • Instead of looking forward to alcohol, fatty foods or sugary snacks to unwind after a tough day, exercise can be a positive thing you get used to doing, and you’ll even start to anticipate your workouts with joy.
  • Say goodbye to feeling tired all the time, as staying fit means you have more energy to use.
  • The big one! Weight reduction can be a very rewarding result of hard work in the gym, and matched with a reduction in unhealthy food, you’ll feel good that you are taking care of your wellbeing and longevity.

Regular Exercise Boosts...

  • You get a boost of endorphins in your brain when exercising, which directly leads to feeling happy.
  • After a workout, you can get to sleep faster and for a deeper rest, meaning you’re in a better mood later.
  • Self-confidence can get a big boost from regular exercise, as you feel better about your physique, and become more comfortable in your own skin.
  • Productivity sees a measurable improvement with exercise, it can also drill a sense of discipline into you that powers your daily motivation.
  • Mental clarity can see an improvement in focus on tasks, and being in shape physically can help you feel like your mind is in shape too, ready to take on new challenges and grow.

If you are feeling down or find yourself dreading some upcoming tasks, try going back to your favourite sport, or go for a run, swim, or even for a long walk in the countryside. The next time you’re in the gym, you can ask our friendly staff about all the ways exercise can help us feel good, and stay healthy in the mind.

*Fitness First is not a recognized mental health institute. Please seek professional advice if you have any serious symptoms related to anxiety and depression.